The Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce recently revealed the results of the first-ever SOGIE inclusivity index in the Philippines, and the results are dismal.
In a survey of 100 companies which cumulatively employ 267,231 people, not a single Filipino organization has any LGBT-inclusive policy.
The study, which was undertaken by research firm Cogencia from July to September 2018, aims to establish a quantitative baseline SOGIE Corporate Diversity and Inclusiveness Index across top corporations as well as other small and medium enterprises in the Philippines. It was done with the support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in the Philippines.
“I’m not sure why Filipinos like to say we’re a country that tolerates and accepts LGBT [because] that is not correct. Every day I experience some form of discrimination,” added Cogencia Head Paolo Edrosolano.
Explained Evan Tan, Vice Chair for Business and Industry, the study was absolutely necessary because “there are so many anecdotes of discrimination but no real study. We need the data.”
And according to the data, “Philippine companies and organization do not accept [LGBT],” said Brian Tenorio, Chair of the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “It’s unfortunate but we have to figure it out [from here],” he added.
The companies surveyed were categorized into four: Philippine-based organizations, foreign-headquartered, government, and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)/Business Process Services (BPS).
The study showed that only 17% of the 100 companies surveyed have policies in place, and all of the 17% are BPO/BPS and foreign-headquartered.
A huge 57% of companies have nothing on diversity and inclusivity in their policies.
Worse, the same 57% face huge uncertainties, saying they did not express interest in creating policies and benefits for LGBT members of their organizations in the next five years.
No Philippine-based company had anything on anti-discrimination policies that included the terms “sexual orientation,” “gender identity” and /or “gender expression.”
According to the study, 41% of respondents shared that to their knowledge, no LGBT employee have reached out to management to discuss having SOGIE-based policies in the workplace.
Along with the presentation of the study — the first ever done in the Philippines —the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce launched its #Zeroto100PH campaign, which aims to get 100 Philippine companies to pledge commitment towards LGBT diversity and inclusion, starting with SOGIE training in workplaces.
According to Tan, employees who are members of the LGBT community can challenge or ask their employers, how open the companies are toward including LGBT-inclusive policies in the workplace. And also, if the companies are open for them to organize support groups in the company.
"For employers, the simple first step is ensuring that they are an equal-opportunity employer, specifically including that clause — 'gender and sexual orientation' — in that particular statement," Tan said.
Tenorio, meanwhile mentioned a hand-in-hand-in-hand strategy: "Employee organization chatting up their employers, who are also chatting up LGBT organizations who will help the organizations figure out what to do next."
"Our fellow LGBT professionals must be guaranteed their protection in the workplace, so they can positively contribute to their respective companies, without fear of prejudice or discrimination,” Tenorio continued. — VDS/GMA News